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February 19, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 19, 1999

U51je idtign nuig
420 Maynard Street HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
I.I
Sg ing up
Sign language pilot program is a good. start

How long should men and women wait for 'Someday?'
T he issue is headlined, "Where the Boys well rounded and prepared for anything. We promised land.
Aren't." take ancient history courses in the same after- But those years also went to late-night
It is not a rebuttal to the Sports Illustrated noon as computer science because we are told soul searchings with friends forged by com-
swimsuit issue but the cover story on the ever- that thought patterns of old are still applicable mon experiences, the occasional dressy
controversial university rankings issue of U.S. today. We regard the odd story of a zillionaire night out, the freedom of living on our own
News and World genius without a college degree as the excep- (with those friends), landing the big job or
Report. Published ear- tion to the rule - because the rule is that a opportunity, meeting the world's expert
tier this month, the solid education leads to a solid job and a solid who inspires you, getting wrapped up in
ngs a a sorce ,life, something that changes your life, working
of derision for many This rings particularly true for students in a hard and getting the grade to prove it, or
universities and col- professional or graduate school, who retain discovering a new truth. They were filled b0
leges and, yet, the x their amateur status while old roommates and times with the closest friends of our lives;
unofficial rule book friends work regular jobs with regular pay- going to parties unlike any we ever will
for every high school checks in the regular world. Paychecks, bene- again, winning national championships,
junior.(The University fits and weekends off replace new clothes as getting in the car and taking a road trip,
of Michigan, inciden- enviable objects. Sure, more time now means working together to achieve change, mak
tally, is in a four-way more in the long run - but suddenly the run ing a few forgivable mistakes, falling in and
tie for 25th.) looks longer and longer. out of love, doing things on a whim, sleep-
The article says the Megf All the while, we wait for Someday. ing in on a weekday, and dodging rules,
number of men SChImpf As in, "Someday I'll have time for this." laws and Codes along the way.
attending college is }. "Someday I'll have nice things." Or, When Someday is still a time for dreams to
slowly declining, u "Someday I won't have to worry about apply- happen - eventually.-
noticeably tipping the ing for anything: "Someday I'll be able to The boys who aren't in college miss this
gender balance at some smaller schools afford that." And, "Someday I'll leave work at magical chance to have grown-up privileges
toward women. The University of North work and just relax at home." without grown-up responsibilities. They miss
Carolina at Chapel Hill is 60 percent In many ways, we spend most of our edu- that part of a liberal arts education, all to find
female; Seattle Pacific University is 65 per- cation wishing it were over - wishing finals Someday right now. They miss the paradoxi-
cent women. were done, wishing it were time to get on that cal chance to live for instant gratification
Men, the article says, head for the more spring break plane or wishing itcould be sum- while working for delayed gratification.
immediate rewards of the job market. mer already. It is only at the very pinnacle of Someday is a time closely associated with
This trend is not as evident at the University wishing to graduate do we look back and the "real world" or "8-5, Monday to Friday." It
- the Fall 1997 entering class was 50 percent wonder where the time went. is a time easy to idealize, one that will somte=
female - and men outnumber women in Ivy They went to writing term papers while on how have alleviated the problems of nowO
League schools. But it points to an emotion a caffeine binge, scrounging money for the while retaining all the privileges. It remains4
many students can identify with, phone bill, complaining about landlords who time in the future.
Higher education means working for lie more than politicians, playing the intern- For now there are exams to study for and
Someday to come and relying on it being a ship-applications-interview game, taking requirements to fulfill. There are things to
better world. It means having the ultimate exams that are tricky and long, walking learn and theorize. There are days to count
faith that hard work still means something through snow and rain because there's no down and things still to strive for.
substantial. place to park, buying books that were never It's all worth it. Someday. At least that's
We sit through classes that have no obvious opened, and dodging rules, laws and codes what they tell me.
relation to our planned future because we are along the way. - Megan Schimpf can be reached over
told that a liberal arts education will make us All this makes Someday look like the e-mail at mschimpfoiumich.edu.

he University community often over-
looks hearing impaired students due to
the lack of awareness and understanding of
this disability. This has been a direct result
of the lack of emphasis the University
places on teaching students sign language
o allow hearing impaired students to com-
municate effectively with the rest of the
campus community. But in the upcoming
fall term, this situation will change when
'he University will begin offering a semes-
ter of American Sign Language ina pilot
program run through the linguistics depart-
ment. This is a step in the right direction for
the University in a long overdue process.
The University should take advantage of
this opportunity and offer the student body
ASL as a four-semester class, enabling stu-
dents to fulfill their foreign language
requirements with ASL.
In the past, hearing impaired students
eive been forced to use lip reading to
understand professors in classes. This is
difficult and ineffective. Trying to cope
With the pressures in class is already a
tough task. It makes it many times more
difficult to understand the material
through lip reading when a more effective
method - sign language - is unavail-
able.
It has taken such as long time for the
University to introduce this pilot program
.due to the lack of commitment the
University has towards this issue. This

idea was first proposed three years ago by
LSA junior Rachel Arfa, who is hearing
impaired, and LSA senior Ryan
Friedrichs, a former Michigan Student
Assembly representative. When Arfa was
a first-year student, she realized there was
no method for students to officially learn
sign language at the University. This
made it near impossible for students to
gain a proper understanding of those with
hearing impairments. Thus it limited the
communication between hearing impaired
students and the rest of the student body.
Since the idea was first initiated, the
proposal has been welcomed with enthu-
siasm by the campus community. But it
has taken such a long time due to the lack
of commitment from departments. As a
result, this idea has been passed back and
forth between the linguistics and
American culture departments during the
last three years even after the LSA dean's
office guaranteed money for the program.
Hearing impairment has always been a
disability that students have overlooked in
the past because of the lack of commit-
ment from the University. It is now a time
for the University administration to act
and develop this ASL program from a
course that is only offered for one semes-
ter into a full four-semester program. The
University needs to take this opportunity
to increase the understanding and aware-
ness of the student body.

CHIP CULLEN

GRIN DINC T H E IB

Rs nSible action
MSU Greek system made the right move

A simple vote revived the tarnished
image of Greek systems nationwide
last week. At an emergency late-night
meeting of the Interfraternity and
Panhellenic councils, representatives
from most of the fraternities and sorori-
ties at Michigan State University voted
almost unanimously to make the Greek
system "non-functional" for 30 days. The
decision came in the wake of an inves-
,igative report aired by WJBK-TV in
Detroit that showed negative footage of
fraternity parties and on the same day that
:the administration at Dartmouth
ollege elicited fervent objections
-from students when it announced
that Greek organizations there"
will become co-ed.
Under the moratorium, all
official parties, functions and
social events will be canceled for
30 days in order to allow frater-
nity and sorority members a
chance to focus on how to pro-
mote their professed values and
address the Greek system's
problems. An Interfraternity and
Panhellenic alcohol task force has been
formed and plans to have a functional
policy in place by the time this semester
ends.
The moratorium reflects the Greek
system at its best; upholding the values of
leadership, responsibility and self-deter-
mination that it has always said lie at the
heart of Greek life. Hopefully, fraternities
and sororities at MSU will take advantage
of the opportunity afforded by the "non-
functional" period and produce long-term
solutions to deal with the shortcomings of
the MSU Greek System.
In light of the increase in alcohol-
induced deaths and date rape in party sit-
uations at universities across the country,
other beleaguered Greek systems should

consider following the example of MSU's
fraternities and sororities. Social morato-
riums may prove to be the quickest, most
effective and easiest ways of confronting
the problems facing Greek organizations
nationally.
If all goes well, the results of the
mature independence exhibited by the
Greek system at MSU will contrast
sharply with those of the heavy-handed
reforms handed down by the administra-
tion at Dartmouth College towards its own
Greek system. The anger of Dartmouth
students towards their administration,
which has not recanted on a deci-
sion that polls say 83 percent of
students oppose, is understand-
able. Members of Greek organi-
zations are all adults and can
competently mend their weak-
nesses independently, without
the imposition of strict and
unpopular measures.
The vote of the Interfraternity
and Panhellenic councils at
MSU reflects a positive state of
affairs for Greek systems across the coun-
try, and simultaneously casts journalists in
a poor light. While the emergency meet-
ing was not the result of the WJBK-TV
report, the story clearly played a large role
in triggering the meeting. WJBK's unnec-
essary use of an undercover reporter and
hidden cameras was both intrusive and
unethical.
The self-imposed social moratorium on
MSU's Greek system is testament to the
capacity for responsible independence not
only in members of the system itself but
also in students as a whole. If fraternity
and sorority members use the "non-func-
tional" period wisely, it should prove the
obvious to University administrators -
that students are best governed by them-
selves.

Diversity advocates
do not try to stifle
other side
TO THE DAILY:
Michael Michmerhuizen, in his letter
"Diversity advocates should welcome
opposing views" (2/16/99), makes the com-
pelling case that "diversity" means the
allowance of opposing views. He states that
Rao's and Vohra's previous letter, which
claims to uphold the merits of diversity, is
ironically intolerant of an opposing view.
There is more to it than meets the eye.
His criticism makes sense if you consid-
er racial intolerance to be merely "an
opposing view." Michmerhuizen's plea for
tolerance fails to recognize that Rao and
Vohra are confronting intolerance. The orig-
inal letter that sparked this chain said that
"diversity is not necessary to education,"
sending the message that "different people
need not apply'
More importantly, Rao and Vohra never
even suggest that Michmerhuizen not voice
his opinion, they merely attacked it for what
it is: the closed-minded ramblings of an
intolerant fool. In only opposing the argu-
ment, they never shun his right to be here. I
cannot give the original writer who demer-
its diversity such credit. His opinion is pure-
ly exclusionary.
Michmerhuizen, had an excellent and
thoughtful critique. Unfortunately, it logi-
cally countered no one. Opposing the intol-
erance inherent in all anti-affirmative
action, anti-civil rights arguments should
not be condemned by inapplicable "straw-
man" arguments.eRather, they shed light on
the sad state of affairs that features people
who are not white having to defend their
right to equal education.
WILL YOUMANS
BUSINESS JUNIOR
Many educational
benefits come from
diversity
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Chris
Georgeandellis's letter "Diversity not cru-
cial to education" (2/8/99). It amazes me
that after almost four years at this
University that Georgeandellis neither
understands nor appreciates the value of
diversity on our campus.
In his letter, Georgeandellis states that
"people at the University rarely interact, so
let's not pretend that we do." Of course it is
a fallacy to believe "merely being in the
presence of different looking people makes
one's learning experience any different"
What does make one's learning experience
more rich are meaningful interactions with
people different from one's self. The pres-
ence of the people of varying backgrounds
creates the opportunity for such interac-
tions. This is what the Daily meant in its
editorial when it underscored the value of
diversity in-the classroom. I doubt the edi-
torial meant to imply that we learn through
osmosis and "ether"
We can benefit from our diverse envi-
ronment through class discussions, group
project assignments, cultural events and in
so many other ways.
Yes, like Georgeandellis writes, some
people do get up, go to class and go home
without a single thought about cultural
backgrounds. However, if we keep an open
mind, listen to each other and once in a
while make a contentious effort to learn, we
will be enriched by each other. I like to
think that the majority of us do these things.
On a minimal level of effort, because of our
different backgrounds and statuses within

D Aet AMD
CA?4 Ri S oa 'rtr wr
society, even the simplest discussion on a class or just driving fast because it's cool.
class topic can introduce you to a unique But most of these individuals fail to take
and fresh perspective that, in a homoge- any caution to the fact that people may be
neous environment, you would not even crossing the road near a stopped bus. Is get-
have considered. ting there five seconds earlier really worth
In response to Georgeandellis's attack the risk of serious injury to a fellow class-
on cultural/social identity groups, which he mate, or possibly a friend? Please slow
calls "cliques," I have this to say: It is per- down.
fectly normal forpeople to associate them- To you drivers in a hurry because you're
selves with people who have similar back- late: Get up earlier.
grounds and interests. Everybody does it. To those of you who think you're hot
We feel more comfortable with people in stuff because you can drive fast - Take c
the same situation with us. Uniting with look at the poor sap in the mirror. To my
people who face the same challenges as us supervisors: Smart weapons ... 'nuffsaid.
provides a base of support and empowers To those of you who ride the busses::
us. Just because we put ourselves into these hate to sound condescending, but look
groups doesn't mean that we will never both ways before crossing the street, thd
interact with people outside these groups. look again. Your tardy classmates are out
None of these groups have the stated pur- to get you.
pose of self-segregating their members MARC DRAM
from the rest of the University community. LSA SEN
As I mentioned above, there are so many
opportunities for interaction with people
who are different from us.
I rarely remember most of the factual There are many
and theoretical knowledge taught to me in
my classes. What has stayed with me and games to play in .
always will are the life lessons I've leamned
from people of different cultural back- dull classes
grounds, physical abilities, and sexual ori-
entations, etc. Chris, if you only learn from TO THE DAILY:
your professors and GSIs and subscribe to While it's hubris to tinker with excel-
the cynical notions of human nature and lence (which James Miller's column usuaIly
diversity you outline in your letter, then I is), I had a suggestion of something to d
feel sorry for you. You're really missing out. while killing time in classes that his Feb. 17
MICHAEL BURESH column ("Things to do when there isn't any-
LSA JUNIOR thing to do") didn't mention. This is a wet-
LnwniaAsnJiUaiiNuasiiR i

Drivers on North
Campus should
slow down
TO THE DAILY:
There is definitely something about
North Campus that makes the idiot coeffi-
cient double when students decide to drive
there. I am justified in making this claim
because I spend a lot of time driving around
North Campus. Maybe you've seen me dri-
ving the Commuter or Bursley/Baits busses.
Although my tone may be a bit sarcastic, I
am writing to address a serious safety con-
cern that exists campus-wide but is espe-
cially apparent on North Campus. Why
must we speed by busses that are loading
and unloading passengers? I have witnessed
too many car/pedestrian near-misses
because drivers are not paying enough
attention to realize that a stopped bus with
the four-way flashers on is usually a pretty
good sign that there may be pedestrians in
the immediate area. The problem is even
worse for those who choose to cross the
street in front of the bus, where visibility is
minimal for oncoming traffic as well as
pedestrians.
More than anything, North Campus is a
haven for speed demons who are late to

known iaw schooi game that might 2e
adaptable to classes elsewhere as well. .
The game is "Gunner Bingo," and it's
real simple. Get together with some friends
and fill out Bingo boards with the namesof
people in your class; normally they should
be people you don't like. Every time some-
one on your board speaks, cross of their
name on your sheet. When you complete a
row, column, or diagonal, you can win by
getting the floor and then using "Bingo" in
whatever you say.
There are a lot of variations on this
depending on how many times you want
to allow people to use the names of par-
ticularly avid speakers, whether you want
to allow multiple players to list the same
gunners, etc. Some fellas at the Law
School a few years ago played a high-
stakes game with computer-generated
boards. (They also substituted various
other relatively ridiculous words foi
"Bingo," because the B-word, at law
schools at least, is a dead giveaway.)
This may not be suitable for all classy
es but if anyone has one for which it is
suited, play in good health. Meanwhilel
have to say that I'm grateful that my three
years in Ann Arbor coincided with three
years of Miller's column; it's been a treat
every Wednesday morning. Thank good-
ness I don't have to kick around here
another year without him to entertain me.
EWOT REGENSTElM
LAw ScH06L

{ C,. ist' -.

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